We are walking to Tábara, a long 16 mile day.
We reach a bridge. I read Chapter 69 of the Tao te Ching:
“The generals have a saying:
Rather than make the first move
it is better to wait and see.”
The terrain becomes very difficult, unusual for the Camino de Santiago.
“Rather than advance an inch
it is better to retreat a yard.”
We climb to the top. The difficult terrain ends.
“This is called
going forward without advancing,
pushing back without using weapons.”
The pathway reaches a series of roads. We see a shepard and 8 dogs move over a hundred sheep down the road and into a field.
“There is no greater misfortune
than underestimating your enemy.”
“Underestimating your enemy
means thinking that he is evil.”
We walk over an bridge, an overpass for a highway under construction. Spain is building many new roads these days. We see Tábara in the distance.
“Thus you destroy your three treasures
and become an enemy yourself.”
[according to Lao tsu, the three treasures are simplicity, patience, and compassion]
We arrive in Tábara but the air conditioning in our room is broken and the room is extremely hot.
“When two great forces oppose each other,
the victory will go
to the one that knows how to yield.”
I watch the sunset. Eventually, around midnight, it gets cooler. I do not consider Lao tsu to be a military expert but I think it is interesting to ponder the idea that your enemy is within.
When you look inside yourself, you will encounter memories, anger, foolishness, ignorance, pettiness — things that you do not like. Lao tsu suggested not underestimating the impact of these parts of yourself and not regarding these parts as evil.
Hold on to the three treasures. Retreat — look inside yourself and accept the good and the bad. Yield to the reality of the situation.