We are walking to Cea, about 80 km. from Santiago. The weather forecast warns of extreme heat. We walk in fog.
We climb to a high elevation.
I read Chapter 8 of the Tao te Ching, translated by Steven Mitchell.
“The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.”
The sun burns away the fog.
“It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.”
[I came to understand this verse when I was a social worker in a psychiatric hospital]
“In dwelling, live close to the ground.”
(The sign says, “Welcome to A Bouzas. Have a good Camino.”)
“In thinking, keep to the simple.”
“In conflict, be fair and generous.”
“In governing, don’t try to control.”
“In work, do what you enjoy.”
“In family life, be completely present.”
“When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.”
Want more advice?
Don’t sleep with someone who has more problems than you.
Be careful about using alcohol or drugs.
If you feel sad, depressed, or anxious much of the time, take up meditation.
It is difficult to figure out the patterns within that prevent happiness.
[The sign says, “Beware of the dog.”]
Lao tsu says “Be yourself,” but sometimes being yourself doesn’t feel good.
Practice daily meditation — focus on the breath, let go of the thoughts that arise, then refocus on the breath. You will eventually learn what is going on inside yourself. It may not feel good, at first. Eventually you will grow used to yourself and will see patterns within that prevent you from being happy.
A feeling, emotion, memory of trauma — it comes up and you let it go and return your awareness to your breath.
You don’t need to become a Master – Zen, Taoist, Buddhist, mystic — or anything like that. You need to cope with what is going on inside yourself. Talk with friends, relatives, therapists — but ultimately, you have to do the work yourself.
If you practice the Inner Way, you will come to see things as they are. Then you can figure out what to do about it.