Although we rarely think about it, our lives are a journey — with a beginning, middle, and end.
We are walking to Lubián, a village in the mountains (elevation about 1000 meters – 3000 feet). The camino passes through a tunnel.
I read Chapter 80 from the Tao te Ching, written by Lao tsu (translated by Steven Mitchell):
“If a country is governed wisely,
its inhabitants will be content.”
“They enjoy the labor of their hands
and don’t waste time inventing
[Lao tsu advocates extreme meditation – no labor saving technology.]
[Lao tsu seems to prefer people who lack imagination.]
“There may be an arsenal of weapons,
but nobody ever uses them.”
“People enjoy their food,
take pleasure in being with their families,
spend weekends working in their gardens,
delight in the doings of the neighborhood.”
“And even though the next country is so close
that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking,
they are content to die of old age
without ever having gone to see it.”
[Lao tsu’s utopian society apparently has complete social equality or else some within it would venture forth, seeking a better life. There is no addiction, crime, or social disorder in his society — or else people would seek new ways of thinking.]
Many people, living in these small Spanish villages, have left their homes, seeking a better life. Some villages are almost completely deserted. The stone houses remain.
In Lubián, I meditate in the church.
In the world that I live in, many people are not completely satisfied with the situation they encounter and they seek ways of improving their lot in life. Often, they have problems that are beyond solution. Religions have devised systems for dealing with this.
I invite you to join me. I look around and close my eyes. Merely sit still and pay attention to your breath.
Throughout human history, people have tried the Inner Way — they focus their minds on a particular image or idea.
Those able to focus their minds, even partially, are less troubled. They carry the image or idea inside wherever they go and the sadness, anxiety, or distress is pushed away. Of course, it comes back, but eventually you can find a new perspective.
Above the altar is Santiago (St. James), the patron Saint of our pilgrimage. I don’t worry about what people say — there is a hidden power in this. We walk each day on an inner voyage.
It does not matter what name you call this. All the names are one name. Focusing your mind regularly is beneficial.
If taking part in a social or religious movement helps you meet people and make friends, then it can be a good thing — but there are aspects beyond words. You can discover this for yourself.