Requejo de Sanabria – Chapter 78


We walk past the castle at Puebla de Sanabria, on our way to Requejo de Sanabria.


We walk through the countryside.

I read Chapter 78 of the Tao te Ching:

“Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.”


“Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.”


We walk on the road.

“The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.”


We walk on a country road which runs parallel to the highway. We come to a chapel – I start to walk past but Karen wants to explore.

“Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.”


“Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.”



“Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.”


How can this be true? How can he be serene in the midst of sorrow? Why does he give up helping?

Under the chapel is a shrine for pilgrims — with an image of St. James (Santiago), the patron of our pilgrimage.



Santiago came to Spain to preach the Gospel (there is no record of this). He was martyed in   Jerusalem in 44AD — beheaded and his head is in the Armenian Chapel in Jerusalem. His body was taken back to Spain (perhaps). He was magically transported by angels in a boat made of stone — or perhaps he was taken by two of his disciples (there is no record of this). Then, as a result of a vision, his body was found in Compostela in the 800s  — the cleric was guided by a star to find the body and the Cathedral at Santiago was later built to commemorate the resulting miracles. Can you believe it?

“True words seem paradoxical.”


The Camino reaches a road that crosses the highway.


What does it mean to give up helping? Most people’s problems cannot be solved. These problems require a miracle.

He cannot make miracles so he steps aside so that the miracle can occur. I have seen it happen.

Some problems can be solved — you can stop drinking so much, get a job, get out of an abusive relationship, go back to school, stop doing stupid things, stop doing timid things, go back to taking your medications, or just do what you know you should be doing. Telling someone to do one of these things is rarely effective. You have to figure it out for yourself.

Actually doing it is often difficult — it might take a miracle anyway.

Talk, talk, talk — it does not matter what people say. Step to one side and allow it to happen.

“It’s a legend,” Karen says. “It didn’t really happen that way.”

“It is an inward journey,” I say.


The thoughts that come into our minds are not real but merely reflections of memories. All the stories are just stories — but the stories you tell yourself about your past affect your future. Your beliefs about yourself  change over time. You can change your perspective.


It isn’t a matter of logic or reasoning. It is a matter of doing or non-doing.

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