Villar de Farfón – Chapter 73

We walk to Villar de Farfón.


I read chapter 73 of the Tao te Ching (translated by Steven Mitchell):

“The Tao is always at ease.”



“It overcomes without competing,
answers without speaking a word,
arrives without being summoned,
accomplishes without a plan.”


This place is poorly marked and the pilgrims are unsure which way to go. What does it mean to “overcome without competing”? “Answer without speaking”? “Arrive without being summoned”? “Accomplish without a plan”?

Meditation is like that. Reality is like that. It happens.

“Its net covers the whole universe.”

We walk through a small town.

We walk through thick vegetation.

The terrain is rugged. I see the face of the dam.

We walk across the dam.

“And though its meshes are wide,
it doesn’t let a thing slip through.”


We approach the Rehobeth Alburgue, where we will spend the night.

Why would someone follow the Inner Way? Most people are not interested.


In the albergue, I talk with an Australian man, Karen (American), an Austrian woman, a British guy, and the South African albergue manager –a missionary. The missionary talks about Christianity but there is no discussion of the inner life — except for talk about  “converting” to Christianity. It seems as if he gets a commission for converting someone.  Christianity involves one life, he says. Because Hinduism says there is more than one life, Hinduism must be wrong, he says. All other religions are wrong.

Karen wonders why she should believe one thing and not something else.

People are attracted to the Inner Way for three reasons: curiosity, reducing their suffering, or gaining compassion. I think that suffering is the main reason. If something happened in your life that has affected you, you have a negative memory. You are sad, anxious, or fearful inside.

Some people decide to look inside to try to figure out what is wrong. Meditation is a way of doing this and it can help you develop the skill of focusing your mind on positive things — or at least on something besides your inner problem. You can  become happier — at ease with yourself.

It is not a matter of believing a specific doctrine but of seeing what is inside and dealing with it.

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