Hostal Asturias – Chapter 54

We leave Oliva de Plasencia — for a road walk.  “People are not interested in road walks,” Karen says.  “Everything looks the same.”

“It’s a form of meditation,” I tell her.

We will walk eight miles to reach the Hostal Asturias, outside of the town of Jarilla. Tomorrow,  we will re-connect with the main Camino.

I read Chapter 54 of the Tao te Ching, translated by Steven Mitchell.

“Whoever is planted in the Tao
will not be rooted up.”

We reach an intersection where we will turn right and walk to a road that runs parallel to a major highway.

“Whoever embraces the Tao
will not slip away.”

The sign says, “Remember.”

“Her name will be held in honor
from generation to generation.”

We pass a gas station where they sell bags of oranges and ice cream; they also have a coffee machine.

“Let the Tao be present in your life
and you will become genuine.”

I provide a meditation exercise which requires over a minute of your time – marked by sun and shadow. Listen to someone on the bridge above us, whistling. You will hear cars passing above and the sound of my steps. Focus on your own breath.

“Let it be present in your family
and your family will flourish.”

We see the Hostal Asturias, the building on the left.

“Let it be present in your country
and your country will be an example
to all countries in the world.”

We get a room and go to the restaurant. We order the “Menu del Dia.” It begins with a beverage. Karen has a beer. I have wine. This is a truck stop-type place. We order beef but they are out.  We look at other people’s plates and see that the trout is small. We decide to have some type of pork for our main dish (that is the most common thing that people eat here). For the first course, Karen will have noodle soup. I will have white beans. The bread is placed on the table.

“Let it be present in the universe
and the universe will sing.”

The people eating lunch watch the Spanish version of “Wheel of Fortune” on TV. Karen also watches. She guesses the phrase correctly.

All the available main courses involve eggs. Karen has fried eggs and sausage. I have scrambled eggs and pork (which is termed “French”)

For desert, we have ice cream (other choices include an orange, a banana, flan, custard). These come in different forms — often commercially packaged.

The meal ends with coffee.

We go back to our room. I wash our clothes and hang them on a line in front of our window. We get off our feet — road walking is damaging.

Lao tsu completes chapter 54:

“How do I know this is true?
By looking inside myself.”

How can you know if Lao tsu is correct? By practicing meditation. There is an Asian saying, “Seek not to follow the men of old. Seek what they sought.”

It is not a matter of accepting or rejecting a particular doctrine. By following an inner path through practice, you can see for yourself.

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